Recapping Each Lions Draft Pick

BY: DALTON

So, the NFL Draft happened a few days ago. First off, I would like to thank Mr. Crespi for hosting/cooking for me. Secondly, Nashville looked like there was no less than a trillion people there for the draft.

Here’s how shit is gonna go down in this blog, I’m going to touch on each round, give each a grade, and give an overall grade at the end. Fair warning, I will probably be higher on a few of these picks than others because, for some reason, I am a Lions optimist. Obviously, these are subject to change if each pick becomes a perennial pro-bowler but all we have is now so deal with it, I guess.

  • First Round: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa, Pick 8
    • Let me be perfectly clear, Hockenson will be a fine NFL player. There is no reason to think he wont be an instant competitor and could possibly be a top 10 TE by the end of the season. This pick just hurt a little bit for a couple of reasons. The first being that we almost had UK pass rusher Josh Allen. He was an absolute dream scenario. The other is that Ed Oliver could make this pick exactly like Ebron/Aaron Donald. In Patricia’s system, Hockenson will be a valuable asset but considering the recent TE draft history, if Oliver becomes an All-Pro, Hockenson will always be remembered as the guy we picked instead of Oliver or even Devin Bush. As fair or unfair that it is, its the way it will be. All that being said, they addressed one of their biggest needs with the best TE in the draft, so its worth something
    • GRADE: B-
  • Second Round: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii, Pick 43
    • After the collective “who?!?” from the Lions overly-loyal fan base, the research into the Lions newest LB commenced. From all sources, it looks like this pick was a reach. Some analysts said he would be there in the late 2nd/early 3rd or even Day 3. But the Lions saw something in Jahlani that fit their mold. He is big, physical, and aggressive. His 2018 was cut short due to injury but I guess the tape was good enough for Quinn to reach. This is the ultimate “wait and see” pick. The 2nd round isn’t exactly the round for “wait and see” picks but if he fits the mold, fills a need, and might not have made it to them in the 3rd round then I guess that’s good enough for the Lions’ front office.
    • Grade: C-
  • Third Round: Will Harris, S, Boston College, Pick 81
    • I don’t know a whole lot about this pick either but he seems like a HARD hitter. It is never a bad thing to draft a safety who is able to fly all over the field and is willing to throw his body at anything that moves. This dude is a leader too, being a captain for his senior season at BC. He will likely replace Glover Quin when his time is up in Detroit. Hopefully he isn’t called on to play safety this season but can contribute on Special Teams
    • Grade: B
  • Fourth Round: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson, Pick 117
    • Not a whole lot to say about the Bryant pick. He was a member of that Clemson D-Line (three players were drafted in the top 17 picks), but his season was sort of derailed with a pectoral tear. He opted to get surgery after the season. That could be why he wasn’t as hyped up as his teammates on the line. Hopefully he will be fully healthy and ready to prove himself in training camp. Still, for someone who played multiple positions on one of the dominant groups in the nation, pretty decent value to get him in the 4th round.
    • Grade: B
  • Fifth Round: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State, Pick 146
    • This is by far my favorite pick in the draft. Hes big (6’2) and rangy. He emulates his game after Darius Slay. Many draft experts had him projected as a Day 2 guy. Hell, some of them had him as a top-4 corner in the draft. For the Lions to get him in the 5th is an absolute steal. I fully expect him to come in and compete for that second outside corner position.
    • Grade: A
  • Sixth Round: Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion, Pick 184 and Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland, Pick 186
    • All I really know about Fulgham is that he was a deep threat for Old Dominion. It looks like if he is any good he might be the replacement or a stop gap for when Marvin Jones leaves in a few years. As for Ty Johnson, this is another pick that I absolutely love. While he had his senior year at Maryland held back by some injuries, when healthy he averaged 7.7 ypc and has explosive speed. Something the Lions have lacked since Jahvid Best. He might not contribute right away, but he could be an excellent compliment to our future beast, Kerryon Johnson.
    • Grade: B+
  • Seventh Round: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia, Pick 224 and PJ Johnson, DL, Arizona, Pick 229
    • They’re 7th round picks. They will fight for roster spots and to contribute on special teams. I could see Nauta taking the Michael Roberts role and I could see PJ Johnson being a heavy-package interior defensive lineman. These late picks and UDFAs are like free gambles. There isn’t much into them and maybe you find a diamond in the rough. Simply because the Lions made picks and didn’t let the clock run out…
    • Grade: B

 

For me, it was a pretty lackluster first couple of days and the back end of this draft really saved it, for now. Obviously we have to let everything play out but this draft kind of stuck with what Quinn had done in the draft in his time in Detroit. Pick high character/high floor guys who will contribute. I would have liked to see him and Patricia try to swing for the fences in the first round with Oliver or Bush, but I guess I will be content with constant singles and doubles.
OVERALL GRADE: B-, simply off the strength of 3rd round and on.

Lions Schedule Release Predictions

BY: DALTON

The NFL Schedules were released last night. This year, teams were actually very entertaining when posting. I will include the best announcements at the bottom of the blog. But first, lets break down the Lions schedule:

 

Week 1 @ Cardinals: The Lions have always had issues in the desert. With a new coach and maybe a new quarterback, the Cards will be tough to scout. But, I feel the Lions talent is greater than theirs. PREDICTION: Win, 1-0

Week 2 vs Chargers: The Chargers were a phenomenal team last year and I expect them to be just as good during the regular season. Tough home opener for the Lions. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-1

Week 3 @ Eagles: Going on the road to Philly means only bad things will happen. Both to the Lions and any visiting fans. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-2

Week 4 vs Chiefs: Last year the Lions defense balled out against the higher powered offenses. Hopefully they can do the same and keep it competitive. PREDICTION: Loss, 1-3

Week 5 Bye: Rough start to the season. The good news? The first four games are the toughest of the season.

Week 6 @ Packers: In Lambeau but the Lions have kinda dominated the Pack lately. Gonna get cocky here and say Patricia starts 1-0 vs LaFleur. PREDICTION: Win, 2-3

Week 7 vs Vikings: This has been the toughest one to pick thus far. The Vikings could snap back to being the team that they were in 2017 or they can continue the step-back year that had in 2018. Since its at Ford Field… PREDICTION: Win, 3-3

Week 8 vs Giants: Revenge game all over the place for the Lions. The Giants strength is in their running game, obviously. Combine that with Eli still at the helm and no OBJ, this might be the Lions easiest win of the season. PREDICTION: Win, 4-3

Week 9 @ Raiders: The road wont be kind to the Lions in this one. I dont think the Raiders will be particularly good this year, but they have retooled a little bit and I feel like Gruden will get a little more with the times. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-4

Week 10 @ Bears: This is going to be a classic NFC North bout. Not many points and probably some pretty ugly football. Two strong defenses against a couple of QBs people still arent really sure about. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-5

Week 11 vs Cowboys: Does anyone know if the Cowboys are going to be good this year? They have weapons, but they also still have Jason Garrett. What ever, this is going to be a classic Lions loss. I can feel it deep in my plums. PREDICTION: Loss, 4-6

Week 12 @ Redskins: Just a couple of miserable franchises going back and forth in what will likely be a game Fox only airs in the teams’ respective markets. I think the Lions are actually a little bit better team here. PREDICTION: Win, 5-6

Week 13 vs Bears: The Lions will avoid the 4th straight loss to the Bears and defend their turf on Thanksgiving to keep their meager playoff hopes alive. I am not sure how but they will find a way to keep us interested.  PREDICTION: Win, 6-6

Week 14 @ Vikings: Minnesota has a real home field advantage. They will use it to full effect and propel Kirk Cousins to go 16-28 for 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Just enough to get by a sleeping Lions team. PREDICTION: Loss, 6-7

Week 15 vs Buccaneers: I probably couldn’t name 4 Bucs players. For that reason, I am going to assume they are trash. The Lions are also home. PREDICTION: Win, 7-7

Week 16 @ Broncos: Denver air is another strong home field advantage that the Lions will have to try and overcome. Huff and Puff as they might, the Lions wont blow this house down. PREDICTION:Loss, 7-8

Week 17 vs Packers: Aaron Rodgers? More like AARP-on Rodgers, this man is old, fragile, and basically retired with how many games he’s been missing. I’m still scared of him like I am scared of how a WWII Vet could kick my ass still, but finishing with a losing record in my predictions would be dumb. PREDICTION: Win, 8-8 and no playoffs

 

As promised, here are my favorite schedule announcement videos:

 

Lions Free Agency Day 1 Grades

BY: DALTON

What an amazing first day for the Lions in free agency! It seemed like it was one after another after another after another. Schefty and Rappaport were BIZZY with the Lions news in the early afternoon. While free agent signings don’t win games in January, it sure is a lot of fun in March. This effects their draft strategy immensely, but lets worry about that later. Lets talk about the Lions winning the first day of free agency.

Danny Amendola

Contract: 1 year/ $4.25 million base + $1.5 million in incentives

Thoughts:

This was the first deal of the day for both the Lions and the NFL. While Amendola isn’t the same player he was in New England, the Lions are still getting a solid slot receiver and veteran. Did they pay a little more than they should have for a year of 33-year old Danny Amendola? Yea, probably. But if he hits all his marks and earns that extra $1.5 million, he will be worth it. This is obviously just a stop gap solution for a looming problem, but the Lions could certainly have done worse. He will fill the Golden Tate role of being a chain-mover and Stafford’s safety blanket.

Grade: B-

Justin Coleman

Contract: 4 years/ $36 million

Thoughts:

When this move came across the twitter feed, I think I heard a collective “Huh?” from the Lions faithful. After doing a little research, like the hardcore journalist I am, this move is a strong one. I was puzzled to learn that the Lions cut Nevin Lawson. I thought he was an average corner for most of the year. But, Bob Quinn went out and got the best nickle corner on the market while also paying him like it. Coleman is the highest ever paid nickle corner, but in today’s NFL the nickle scheme is being used more and more often. To be able to have the best one is a huge plus for this defense. Did they over pay? Yes. But I feel like Detroit has to overpay for these types of things. The best part of this deal? The fact that he is only 24 years old. We will have him locked up through the prime of his career.

Grade: B+

Trey Flowers

Contract: 5 years/ $85(?) million

Thoughts:

The crown jewel of this years free agency. As I was doing my research on the Coleman deal, my phone started to get flooded with updates from twitter, group chats, and individual texts. I was pretty taken aback. I knew the Lions were in the running but last I heard was that Flowers wanted to go play down in Miami with Brian Flores. I was very surprised and very excited. While the exact numbers of the deal haven’t been announced yet, it is strongly rumored to be in the $17 million/year range. It is a hefty price, but when you consider the Lions were paying Ansah that same price last season, it isn’t that hard of a deal to stomach. My favorite part of the deal, much like the Coleman deal, is that we will have one of the best players at their position locked up through their prime. The price tag may look high, but I think Flowers will be worth every penny.

Grade: A+

Jesse James

Contract: ???/???

Thoughts:

Since we don’t know any of the contract details yet, it is kinda tough to give this deal a true grade. But, just based off player skill and need, this isn’t a home run but it is a bases-clearing triple (hell yea, cross sport reference). The Lions had a glaring deficiency at tight end last season and Jesse James was the best TE on the market this year. He can block well and is someone a defense has to pay attention to in the passing game. I’m assuming they over-payed for him because that is the way the free agency has been going thus far, hopefully they didn’t over-pay too badly for him though. This also should take Hockenson off the board for the 8th pick in the upcoming draft.

Grade: B, for now

UPDATE: Jesse James deal is being reported at 4 years/ $25 million. Above average pay for an above average player. Changing my grade to a B+.

I’m Ready for Charlie Weis

BY: DALTON

I’m sure that by now, you know that Jim Bob Cooter was not brought back as the offensive coordinator for the Lions. What a weird tenure as OC he had, right? When Lombardi was fired, JBC was a breath of fresh air. Then, he absolutely lit it up the next season. His second full season as OC was alright. In his third and most recent season, he was awful. It was certainly time for change. Obviously, injuries and scheme changes played a big factor in what/how JBC called a game, but it was clear that he cant work in the Patricia system. I know JBC is highly thought of through out the league and I can guarantee he will have another OC job by 2021.

There are a lot of names out there to fill in the Lions OC vacancy. Adam Gase is the ideal hire but I HIGHLY doubt the Lions will be able to get him. He is already getting interviews for head coaching positions and should get one considering how many positions are open. The only way I see Gase coming to Detroit is if he thinks to himself that he cant succeed at the OC. Even then its a long shot because, after the year Stafford had, there area few more enticing OC jobs available. There are a few other names in the mix, a few Rams assistants, an in-house name, and a couple retreads. All of those names are irrelevant.

The next Offensive Coordinator for the Lions is going to be Charlie Weis. It just seems too perfect with all of his connections to Patricia and Quinn. It also seems like a very Lions thing to hire a coach who hasnt coached football in 5 years and coached in the NFL in 9. Do I think Weis is the right move? Not at all. Will I be intrigued to see ol’ Chucky Dub back on the sidelines? You betcha. The man is a character in every sense of the word. From being huge to having a parrot that attacks his house guests, the man is football guy through and through. I really don’t think a Charlie Weis hire will help the Lions but considering how poorly Patricia’s first year went, I’m not sold that the Lions are set up for future success. Again, I dont want the Lions to hire Weis, I’m just ready for it.

Friday Football Preview

By: DALTON

Ohio State @ Michigan State, Noon, FOX: This is my biggest upset alert for any team ranked in the top 25. Michigan State is getting healthier and at home. Now, the Buckeyes are still going to be the favorite but this is clearly Urban’s worst team at Ohio State. They struggled with a trash Nebraska team. If Dantionio actually wants to put together an offensive game plan, then the Spartans should be in it right to the end. When an underdog hangs around in a game, they usually can find a way to pull off the upset, especially at home. OSU’s season is over at about 3:30 pm. PREDICTION: OSU 21- MSU 24

 

Michigan @ Rutgers, 3:30 PM, BTN: The fact that the line on this game is only Michigan -39 is all the motivation this years Wolverines should need. The only thinking on this game I have to do is will Rutgers have more yards than Michigan has points? PREDICTION: UM 62- RU 0

 

Lions @ Bears, 1:00 PM, FOX: With the Lions looking like absolute garbage against a good pass rush last week in Minnesota, they dont inspire much hope going into Chicago going against an even better pass rush. Now T.J. Lang is officially out so I dislike their chances of stopping Khalil Mack even more. Slay was also announced as OUT for Sunday so the defense is going to be down one of their top play makers. The good news for the Lions? The Bears offense can be stopped. The bad news? They have to stop the running game. The Lions can win this game if they can contain and force Trubisky to throw. That and a little bit of protection for Stafford should make for an interesting Sunday. But, dont get your hopes up folks. The Bears defense will be the best one the Lions face this year outside the Rams. Lions fans should just hope that Stafford makes it out of Chicago with the ability to walk. PREDICTION: DET 13- CHI 24

DOWN THE FIELD: Week 4

BY: DALTON

In case you didn’t watch, the Lions lost on a last second field goal to the Cowboys. To be completely honest with you loyal readers, this loss didn’t hurt that much. I don’t know if it is because I’ve seen that script play out before, the fact that the game against the Jets sucked all optimism out of the season, or maybe it was a combination of both. It’s taxing being a Lions fan. I could sit here and bitch about how Kerryon Johnson needs more touches, how the defense needs to improve, how we should look to get Golden Tate the ball more, or anything else on the laundry list of problems that plagues the Honolulu Blue and Silver. But, it would basically be a copy and paste of the recaps of week one and week two.

Instead, I’m going to complain about the refs. Now, I’m not saying that the refs were the reason that the Lions lost this game. No sir. The Lions lost this game because of a porous defense and too little offense early on. Let me know if you’ve heard that one before. But that officiating in Dallas was horrible. Again, let me know if you’ve heard that one before. The Lions losing, I can handle. They do it all the time. Its what ever. But, the bullshit calls or lack there of that Dallas gets every *clap* single *clap* time *clap* just pisses me off. Hey NFL, the Cowboys haven’t been good since the 90’s, why do you constantly ensure they have a leg up on the competition at home? Roger, are you scared of Jerry Jones? Its so infuriating to have 3 straight defensive penalties before the Cowboys have their first OF THE GAME. The first Cowboys penalty came in the form of a block in the back that was in the open field and blatantly changed the outcome of the play. But, I guess a penalty happening in plain sight isn’t enough to warrant a flag because there was an obvious hold on the Cowboys’ left tackle on a third and long that was converted into a first and goal. The Boys scored two plays later. You cant sit here and tell me that the Cowboys are an unbelievably disciplined team to where they only commit two penalties the entire game. Its just not possible. Then there was the B.S. unnecessary roughness penalty on the play where Dak slipped and fell. If Dak Prescott continued to play after he slipped and threw a touchdown, there is not a doubt in my mind that they would have counted it. There was no whistle to signal that Prescott was down. There was no clear evidence that he was touched down. It is simply a call that only the Cowboys would get because, heaven forbid, the darlings of the NFL start the season 1-3. But, who gives a fuck if the Lions start 1-3? They’re Detroit, no one gives a shit about them. Whats another season of losing? Well, folks, the NFL is getting tougher and tougher to watch each week. And its not because of politics or talent or the length of a game. It is because the referees are simply lost out there. They have no idea what they are doing and there is no direction in the league office as to how to fix it.

I’m tired of the league playing favorites. So tired that I may be letting Dean Blandino off the hook and turning my attention on to who ever else is in charge. Its just frustrating to know that the Lions already have a tough enough time winning games on their own, let alone against the officials. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, no other fan base knows what Lions fans go through. The Browns are close, but they’ve been a better franchise in the Super Bowl era than the Lions. I hate this team.

DOWN THE FIELD: Week Three

BY: DALTON

What happened on Sunday night in Detroit, can only be described as an anomaly. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed 60 minutes of football quite like I did when watching that game. Was I ever nervous? Oh, absolutely. Who wasn’t nervous after the Stafford interception/Tom Brady touchdown pass? But, for the first time in recent memory, the Lions answered the score. Not just a field goal, either. An actual, real-life touchdown. It was a night where Lions fans walked the thin borderline of exuberance and impending doom. I can’t explain what happened or why it happened, but I do know is that I could have turned the game off at halftime and I wouldn’t have missed much. In a good way. I went to sleep aggressively happy that night. Had the most delightful of dreams, of which I can only really credit the Detroit Lions.

I used to do the good, the bad, and the ugly for these segments but I’m going to try something different. Now introducing the MVP segment:

M: Most. Most rushing yards for a Lions running back since Thanksgiving Day in 2013. Kerryon Johnson has ended the 70 game nightmare of the Lions not having a 100-yard rusher. He finished the game with 101 yards. When he broke the century mark in the fourth quarter, I started screaming for the Lions to just pull him from the game. I was willing to jeopardize the game if it meant the Lions could snap the streak. But seriously, Johnson looks like he has all the tools to be a 1200-yard rusher.

V: Validated. Not only was this win the first win as a head coach for Matt Patricia, it validates that he belongs as one of the select 32 to head a professional football team. The game plan was flawless and a team that looked to be on skids looked as if they were playing against a college team. All this against former mentor Bill Belichick.

P: Promise. What we saw on television was a flare of hope. Hope that this team could be something special…one day. What Lions team are we going to get next week? Who knows. It could be the one we saw week one against the Jets or it could be the dominators of week three. I hope its the latter. Who is this team? Its probably somewhere in the middle, honestly. I know thats not a hot take, but I think its the truth. But dont get it twisted, what this team showed on Sunday night was a higher level of play that they could have under Caldwell.

Friday Football Preview

BY:DALTON

Michigan State Bye: Usually I hate when a bye week comes early in a teams season. But, after a Utah State scare during week one and an upset loss in the late desert to Arizona State, this bye couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for the Spartans. As a Michigan fan, it kills me to say this, but I still think MSU has a good team this year. I can’t explain the slow start this year, but Lewerke is a good quarterback and Dantonio is a good coach so this ship isn’t sunk. They have a lot of figuring out to do on the defensive side of the ball and I expect them to get it done before their tilt against Indiana.

 

SMU Mustangs @ Michigan Wolverines: This is a pretty straightforward preview. As long as the Wolverines don’t choke on their own spit, they should easily role the ‘Stangs. In every facet of the game, Michigan is considered better. Now, an upset is always possible so please don’t screenshot this article and paste it all over social media. PREDICTION: UM 42- SMU 7

 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers: The Lions STINK out loud. The defense is porous and the offense is non-existent, not a great combo. The 49ers are a solid squad despite a loss to the Vikings last week. Garrapolo didn’t have a great performance against Minnesota but the defense he plays this week will be a lot easier to toss against so the Jimmy G hype train will get right back on track. Lions can win this game is if they somehow hold San Francisco to 21 points or less. Sadly, that won’t happen. Despite me being in attendance, Lions still lose. PREDICTION: SF 28- DET 17

DOWN THE FIELD: Week One

BY: DALTON

What a roller coaster of a game. By roller coaster, I mean:

Holy fuck what an awful game. Absolutely disgusting, embarrassing, and downright unacceptable. I was willing to give this team a chance after their shit preseason. Hoping, wishing, praying that it was just guys getting reps in different positions. Alas, it was not the case. After a rookie mistake by Sam Darnold, the Lions looked under coached, underprepared, uninspired, and every other word that describes our team as being absolute trash. I hope all the players and coaches remember that on the opening night, at home, in primetime, that by the middle of the fourth quarter the only sounds echoing through the tomb known as Ford Field were” J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets”. It’s the most embarrassing day to be a Lions fan since they lost to the Packers in week 17 of 2008 when they completed the 0-16 season. I cant put into words how disgusted and shocked I am in this game. But, why should I be shocked? Have the Lions ever been anything but a steaming pile of a team that gets horrible QBs paid (Matt Flynn) and the punchline of any NFL joke not involving the Browns? And maybe that’s the worst part. The Lions are a significantly worse franchise than Cleveland and we never get any of the credit. What’s funny? After the opening drive of the second half, it was tied 17-17. I want to say the wheels fell off, but that would imply we had wheels. Or a car. Or a chance.

Let’s start with the offense, I guess. It was absolutely atrocious.  This was the worst Matt Stafford has looked in his entire career. I’m usually a hardcore Stafford defender but there is no excusing that shit show. Four interceptions and I’m not even going to look up the yards or attempts/completions. Not worth my time because Stafford made that game look like it wasn’t worth his. I was hoping that this offense was going to be different than the one last year, and I guess I was right. It was much worse. The offensive line that we bolstered up the past couple of years couldn’t open any holes up and allowed constant pressure. The two new running backs we got this offseason combined for a total of 39 yards. Why the hell would we draft Kerryon Johnson if he doesn’t get any reps until the second quarter? Let me remind everyone that the offense had negative two yards in the first quarter. Jim Bob Cooter took this offense two steps backward. The receivers, outside of Golladay, couldn’t catch a single thing. Multiple opportunities for touchdowns or at least drive-extending catches and the Lions just decided they would be better off to let the ball hit the turf. NEWS FLASH, we aren’t better off not catching balls.

Now for the defense. Have you no pride? Besides getting ran over to the tune of 169 yards, you let a rookie quarterback complete 75% of passes. You guys weren’t even close to stopping them on third down. No pass rush, no run stop, bad tackling, and awful coverage will result in a blow out loss to a team that finished with five wins in the last two seasons. They couldn’t even force Darnold into third and long situations. Matt Patricia is supposed to be a defensive guy and the defense looked worse than the offense, in my opinion. At least the offense showed a little something (Golladay, two-minute drill, first drive of the second half). The defense had absolutely nothing outside of the worst thrown ball in history by Darnold. Ziggy is hurt again and I’m ready to let him walk. A hell of a talent when healthy but I’d rather take a mediocre guy for 16 games than an elite talent for three. Jared Davis looks slower than frozen molasses and he still doesn’t understand that when you shoot the hole and see the ball carrier in the backfield, you have to tackle him. Maybe next year he will get it.

Special teams even sucked eggs. Gave up multiple long punt returns, including a 78-yard touchdown, and missed a couple of field goals. Thing is? I’m not even that mad. These were kind of like “of course they would miss those/give up that return”. Not mad, just disappointed.

After tonight, looking at their schedule through poop-colored glasses, they have a legit chance to start off the season 0-12. But, we’ve been there before. I guess if you have to look for a silver lining, its probably that the Lions have shattered all of our hopes and dreams in the first week so that way the emotional stress of when we lose by 30 points at home in December, it isn’t as bad. I am ashamed of the product that was on the field on national television. It would be awesome if there was a single player or unit or coach that we could blame, but there isn’t. It was everyone involved. I’ll even take some of the blame for believing that this team could be something different. If there is any life lesson that I can learn from the Lions, its that I should never believe in anything and always set the bar so low that if I ever succeed, no one will ever care because they know embarrassing failure is just around the corner. Fuck this team.

P.S. Just learned via Dave Birkett that the loss tonight was the second worse loss for a Lions coach in their first game. SECOND LMAO!!!!!

9/9 MAILBAG​!!!!!!!!

BY: DALTON

Darin, Mt. Pleasant, Mi: “Are you discouraged by a less-than-awesome preseason?”

Well, it certainly was “less-than-awesome”. With a new head coach, it is tough to pass judgment about what we’ve seen in the preseason. You just don’t know if the team doesn’t look great because they are bad or are they just working in players into situations that are uncomfortable to them because of new schemes. This first game against the Jets will be a sign to if it will be a long season or not. If they come out prepared and ready, then this preseason was just a fluke. If not, I don’t want to talk about it.

Zack, Mt. Pleasant, Mi: “Thoughts on the Zettel release?”

It came as a shock to many of the Detroit Lions faithful. My best guess is that he just simply wasn’t a scheme fit. After a great start to the 2017 campaign, he trailed off only having half of a sack for the last seven games of the seasons. I certainly wish him the best of luck with Cleveland.

Dave, Standish, Mi: “Thoughts on the defensive line and a lack of a pass rush”

What a perfect question to follow the Zettel one. Last season the pass rush, or lack thereof, was the biggest issue on the defense. Getting Ziggy Ansah back is going to help a lot and hopefully, the acquisition of Romeo Okawa and Eli Harold will help. To say I’m skeptical would be an optimistic viewpoint to say the least. The Lions will have to get to the quarterback without linebacker help if they want to contain teams to some decent scoring averages.

Will, Oakland, Ca: “Will Kerryon Johnson be a top 10 running back this year? If not how good will he be?”

If Kerryon Johnson is a top ten running back this season, then the Lions rushing attack will make Emmit Smith look like a lost child just wandering lost without a care in the world. In other words, no. Not this season, anyway. How good can he be? I have absolutely no idea. We didn’t get to see much of him in the preseason so his role is still in question for this season but going forward, there is no reason to not think he will be the lead back. I would stay away from him for fantasy purposes.

Blake, Standish, Mi: “Do you see the Lions making the playoffs? If so will they make it over the hump and get their first playoff win since 91?”

Yes, because I’m an optimist. No, because they’re the Lions.

Eli, Baltimore, Md: “What’s the optimal way to watch non-national Lions games from outside of their normal coverage area? Preferably Legal”

Sunday Ticket, and if you don’t want to pay for it, there’s always “totally legal” Reddit streams.

Trent, Auburn Hills, Mi: “How many different pencils will coach put in his ear?”

If we are talking about the game on Monday night, I’ll set the over/under at 1.5 and hammer the under. For the whole season? I’d say a California Redwood’s worth.

Andrew, Grand Rapids, Mi: “As of now what position do you think the Lions need to address in the first round next year? What free agents currently do you think could make an instant impact on our team, if any?”

Going with my gut, I would have to say the Lions will need to address the pass rush via the draft. Obviously, who they draft all depends on who’s available when they draft because the Lions are still a far way away from being able to afford a draft reach. As for free agents, I have faith enough in Bob Quinn that if there was a free agent that could make an instant impact that they would be signed. So, essentially, there isn’t a free agent that would make an instant impact.

Ashton, Fort Myers Beach, Fl: “Do you see the Lions winning more games than the Wolverines?”

Out of all the questions people submitted, this one was probably my favorite. I obviously love both the Wolverines and the Lions. It’s like asking me to pick which child I think will be more successful in life. I simply can’t do it. But, for the sake of the article, I’ll say the Wolverines finish with more wins. Michigan will finish with 10 wins, including a bowl win. The Lions will finish with 9 wins.

Austin, Ann Arbor, Mi: “What is the optimal length of Matt Patricia’s for the Lions to be successful?”

I’m going to assume that the word “beard” is supposed to be in there. If that is the question, it will have to be between Lumberjack and Tom Hanks from Castaway length.

Evan, Ann Arbor, Mi: “Is Matt Stafford a top 31 quarterback in the NFL?”

Not even close. Give me Tebow or give me death.

Danny, Parts Unknown, USA: “Is Ameer Abdullah on the roster by the end of the season? Does Golden Tate resign? Best place to buy jeans?”

Abdullah will be on the roster by the end of the year. It is tough to trade players for equal return in the NFL and given how early in the season the trade deadline is, I would assume the Lions will just keep Ameer on the roster for the sake of special teams/insurance policy. As for Tate, I actually think the Lions get a deal done with him. Not sure why but I think both sides understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. Best place for jeans is either Kohls (when you have a 30% off) or any type of discount retailer. They’re just jeans. No need to get fancy.

Matt, Austin, Tx: “Are we eternally cursed? If not, what would break the curse?”

So, for spring break my senior year we went to New Orleans. On one of the first days we were there, we went into a magic shop. Me, quite inebriated, asked what the only ways to prevent black magic were. Black magic is one of the things I fear most in life. The lovely shop keep gave me the worst possible answer, “You can’t really fend off black magic”. At that point in time, I knew I had to piss really bad and that the Lions will never win a Super Bowl.

 

Ok, I’m a Little Worried

BY: DALTON

After watching the Detroit Lions on Friday night, I’m officially changing my status to “slightly worried”. Going it, I was just chalking up the lackluster second preseason game to being exactly that, the second preseason game. But, after seeing the first half of the Lions vs Bucs, I’m starting to doubt the defense of this team.

While the defense finally got their first sack of the preseason, the pressure was never there consistently or when they needed it. Jarrad Davis missed plenty of tackles in the backfield and the rest of the linebackers had a tough time covering tight ends like they did the year before.

The offense did alright. Alright. They seemed to march down the field alright but stalled out in the red zone a couple of times. Ill attribute that to the offense not wanting to show too much on tape, but there is still cause for concern. The offensive line looked solid and the running game looked like it could be decent to good this year. Which, us Lions fans know, would be an absolutely massive upgrade.

I know its not many words, but there isnt a whole lot to say at this point until the regular season. Also, JAKE RUDOCK!!!!!

DTF: Preseason Week One

BY:DALTON

Its time for the Detroit Lions to start playing football again. With it being that time of the year again, SideLion Report decided to bring in the hired gun. That’s right, a no-name blogger who applied at the link down below. Cant figure out who it is? Its ME! Welp, if I had to guess you’re not here to read about me, so here are three things I’m looking for in the Lions first preseason game against the Oakland (1960-1982, 1995-2019) Raiders:

 

  • Back-Up Quarterback Battle: It will be interesting to see who gets more snaps with the second team in the game. Second year quarterback Jake Rudock or journeyman back-up Matt Cassel. A lot of reports from camp thus far says its been a 50/50 race. I would expect to see Rudock to start out with the second team, because hes the incumbent, but if Cassel out performs him in the glorified scrimmage dont be surprised to see a non-Stafford Matt to lead the second team in the second preseason game.
  • Second Corner Position: All-Pro corner Darius Slay is set as the main corner for the Lions, but his partner is still up in the air. As of now, it seems to be between former Seahawk DeShawn Shead and second year cornerback Nevin Lawson. Shead, a former member of the Legion of Boom, would be my pick for the position that mirrors Slay because of his experience and championship pedigree. Lawson wont go down without a fight though. After a strong second half to the 2017-2018 season, he can solidify his spot as the second corner with an impressive preseason, which starts tomorrow.
  • Kerryon Johnson: The rookie running back is the most anticipated player since the last time the Lions drafted a running back. We all know the woes of the Lions in the run game and it seems that the Lions’ front office also know. Trading up to draft Johnson proves their commitment to give Stafford a little bit of help on the offensive end. Obviously Johnson will get a lot of run during the regular season, so this isnt so much about a running back “battle” as much as it is to see how good/bad the rookie will be.

Lions Training Camp: What to Watch For

BY: DALTON

Lions training camp is this Friday (thank god football is back) and here are 5 things the I am really looking forward to:

  1. Running Back Battles: As of now, I fully expect LeGarrette Blount to be getting most of the first-team reps on day one. The role of Theo Riddick is pretty well cemented as the 3rd down back but that leaves a big question mark for the newest Lion RB, Kerryon Johnson. Will he be used in certain sets? Which sets? Are we not going to see much of Johnson because of Blount/Riddick? Then, in all of this RB mess, there is still Ameer Abdullah. It will be interesting to see these internal battles play out because, I think its safe to say, this is the first time in a while the Lions have had a logjam at running back.
  2. Cornerbacks: We all know Big Play is one of the top corners in the NFL, but who is going to play opposite of him? Will it be, free agent addition, DeShawn Shead or, the second-year player, Teez Tabor? If I had to put some money on it, I would say Shead is going to start out as the starter along with Slay. Tabor showed some promise at the end of last season but Shead is a professional who was an important member in the Legion of Boom out in Seattle.
  3. Kerry Hyder: The defensive line was one of the personnel groups on the Lions last season, but they also didn’t have Hyder the entire season. He suffered a torn Achilles a couple seasons ago and its one of the toughest injuries to come back from because it limits your explosiveness. We see it all the time in the NBA, a sport where explosiveness is considerably more important. If Hyder can return to 80% of what he was in the 2016-2016 campaign, then it is a major upgrade for the defensive front.
  4. How Players React to Patricia: This one is pretty straightforward. A new coaching staff means a new way of practice. You don’t have to be a genius either to recognize that Matt Patricia and Jim Caldwell MIGHT have some different coaching styles. How the players react to a more fiery coach will determine how the season starts and which players (special teams) will earn spots at the bottom of the roster.
  5. Offensive Line: I’m not worried about this group at all, in fact, the only positions I am more confident about are quarterbacks and wide receivers. If this group can just stay healthy through camp and develop a little bit of chemistry then they will be a lot of fun to watch.

How The Lions Did On Each Pick

BY: DALTON

  • FIRST ROUND: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
    • Obviously as I outlined earlier, I was upset then pleasantly surprised and now looking at how the rest of the draft shook out, I love it.
  • SECOND ROUND: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
    • The Lions traded up to get their guy in the second round. While I thought Guice was going to be the pick, his maturity concerns were very real as he continued to slide. Given the issues with Guice, I like this pick. It is clear through his third year that Quinn will not deal with any type of off-field issues.
  • THIRD ROUND: Tracy Walker, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette
    • The most surprising pick of the Lions draft by far. I, once again, was hoping they would pick someone different at this pick. I was hoping for Maurice Hurst but he continued to fall and confirmed to me that NFL GMs weren’t as high on Hurst as I was. This came as a shock to everyone but the Lions War Room seemed absolutely ecstatic to land Walker. The Lions are pretty solid in the secondary as is so it would have been nice to address the defensive line here but if he works out then great pick. This pick will be the one that defines this draft class.
  • FOURTH ROUND: Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama
    • Another trade up for Quinn and Patricia as they finally addressed the concerns on the defensive line. I dont know much about Hand but if you’re an edge rusher for Alabama you’re probably pretty good, at least on the college level. Hopefully Paul Pasqualoni can tap into this fourth round pick and make him a contributor this season.
  • FIFTH ROUND: Tyrell Crosby, T, Oregon
    • From all accounts, this is a steal of a pick in the fifth round. If Crosby is as good as everyone says, he will be an awesome backup to both Decker and Wagner.
  • SEVENTH ROUND: Nick Bawden, FB, San Diego State
    • Meh, maybe he will help with those 3rd-and-1 scenarios that the Lions cant convert on.

 

 

Lets Be Frank About the First Round

BY:DALTON

I, like many of you, were watching the NFL Draft last night and was fully expecting the Lions to draft either a running back (Guice) or a defensive lineman/edge rusher (Landry). When the Lions announced their first pick, almost 2 hours after the draft started, I was absolutely stunned that the Lions took neither the running back or the edge rusher. Instead, they went with Frank Ragnow. Obviously, at first, I was quite disappointed because, lets be honest, offensive lineman picks arent exactly “sexy”. Instantly after the pick was announced I got on to twitter.com. After doing some research and letting some time pass, here are some thoughts:

  • Ragnow was considered the second best interior lineman in this draft, behind Nelson, and was the highest graded center EVER in the Pro Football Focus era.
  • Ragnow isnt a slouch: DbwcxC8W0AA_q53
  • The saying goes “football is won in the trenches” and Bob Quinn has bought into that mantra. He has completely overhauled this offensive line in his 3rd year as GM. If everyone can stay relatively healthy, this line should be one of the top in the league. Remember, last year the Lions offensive line was a rotating cast and crew. I’m not 100% sure on this stat, but the Lions pre-season starters played like 60-some snaps together all season. Someone should fact check that.
  • There will be running back and defensive line help through out this draft and if the Lions didnt pick Ragnow, he was going 21st to the Bengals.
  • To contend in the NFL you have to be elite on one side of the ball and we all know the Lions are quite far away from being elite on defense.
  • Adding to the offensive line should help the running game that ranked dead last in the NFL in the previous season.
  • The two guys that I thought the Lions should draft (Guice or Landry) are still on the board for Day 2. That says a lot about other teams’ thoughts on them. I know there are a lot of maturity concerns around Guice and I just learned last night that Landry was flagged with knee/back concerns. Knowing what I know now, I’m glad the Lions made the safe pick.
  • If Ragnow can become the next Dominic Raiola for 8-10 year, it was a hell of a pick.